Protecting Our Food
(Bayside, Queens) Today, Senator Tony Avella and Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein announced they have introduced legislation in the State Senate (S.6101) and in the Assembly that would grant New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) concurrent jurisdiction with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets over grocery stores and farmer’s markets within the City.
Currently, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has sole jurisdiction over grocery stores and farmer’s markets within New York City, while DOHMH has jurisdiction over small convenience stores and other food service establishments such as restaurants. The new jurisdiction for DOHMH would include various duties and powers including the execution and enforcement of laws of the state and rules of the department, investigation of sources of food supply, and inspection, seizure and destruction of products.
“The hundreds of grocery stores and farmer’s markets within New York City have proven to be far too large a landscape for the limited manpower and resources of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets,” stated Avella. “By granting concurrent jurisdiction to DOHMH we are extending the enforcement capabilities they already possess in dealing with restaurants and convenience stores to allow them to also police our larger grocery stores and farmer’s markets. In doing so we ensure that the laws designed to guarantee our food is being appropriately maintained and distributed, can be properly enforced.”
"Our legislation is particularly relevant due to recent reports that numerous eateries in NYC are registering as grocery stores in order to evade inspection by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene," stated Braunstein. "By granting this power to the DOHMH, we will help to ensure that food products in NYC are safe for consumption."